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State hockey draws big turnout online

Grand Rapids players celebrate with the student body after their 6-3 win over Moorhead Saturday, March 11, 2017, in the Minnesota Class 2A state boys hockey tournament title game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. David Samson / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL — More than 100,000 people showed up to the Xcel Energy Center to watch this year's Minnesota high school boys hockey tournament.

But what about the people who tuned in from afar?

Aside from local television station KSTC-45 airing the event for those around Minnesota, anyone in the world could stream the content via Prep45.com in conjunction with a company called GrandStadium.TV.

There were online viewers in 37 countries and all 50 states this weekend, said Thomas Lapping, a spokesperson from GrandStadium.TV.

Not surprisingly, the United States was the most popular viewing space with Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Switzerland rounding out the Top 5.

Countries from five different continents tuned in with Australia and Antarctica as the only continents that failed to register any data.

Though those numbers are staggering on the surface, 97 percent of the interest is confined to the Midwest. Still, the overall reach of the state tournament is demonstrated by the data that showed up elsewhere.

"These are people that have some connection to Minnesota, whether they have been relocated or are in the armed forces," Lapping said. "You know, some of these countries had as little as a single viewer. That said, if they were watching, it shows up in our records."

Lapping estimated that the actual number of people that streamed content was in the thousands — not the hundred-thousands.

While an exact number of viewers is nearly impossible to track, Lapping said GrandStadium.TV documented 1,082 days of video consumed, which equates to 25,968 hours, as of Saturday afternoon, before the Class 2A championship game.

Lapping said the average viewing time was 3 hours, 22 minutes.

"That means there are some people that are literally watching it all day long," he said. "That is the only way to balance out the numbers from the people who are tuning in episodically for a short amount of time."

At the end of the day, Lapping said the reach of the state tournament is astounding.

"It shows how many people care about this thing," Lapping said. "It is really cool to see."

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